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Jan 25, 2012 09:05 AM

Crispy-edged pancakes near Winchester?

We recently moved to Winchester and have yet to find a breakfast place with great pancakes. We are willing to drive to neighboring towns for yummy pancakes! I prefer mine thick with crispy edges. Anybody have any suggestions?

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  1. Have you tried the Swanton Street Diner? I remember the pancakes as good, though I don't remember crispy edges. Perhaps if you asked for them well done?

    3 Replies
    1. re: justbeingpolite

      Yes, that's the first place we tried, since it's so close. I was not very impressed with the pancakes, or the food in general. The pancakes were thin and undercooked and the rest of the food (we were a party of 5) was very bland. We even went back to give it another shot, but got the same result. Thanks for the suggestion anyway.

      1. re: umami4me

        Oops! Sorry. I don't go out for pancakes a lot. Not helpful, but I really like the pancakes at Black-eyed Susan's on Nantucket. There are a couple of places in Wakefield that I've heard are good: Blue Moon, and Brothers.

        1. re: justbeingpolite

          No worries. I'll look up the Wakefield places, thanks!

    2. We moved from Belmont to Winchester a couple of years ago, and we still go back to Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown when we want good breakfast. Depending on what part of Winchester you are in, it's only about 15-20mins. I wouldn't say their pancakes have crispy edges, but they're still dang tasty.

      1. We eat a lot of pancakes around this area and I've never found crispy-edged pancakes, assuming what you're referring to is anything like the crispy-edges pancake nirvana that is Pamela's in Pittsburgh. Best pancakes I've found are at Cappa's Trackside Diner in Melrose. Blue Moon is good and Brothers is fine.

        1. Welcome to winchester, pretty and lots of wonderful trees, but for the 23 years we have been here, it remains the hinterlands w/ regards to good food. However, we ARE 10 minutes from Sushi Island in Wakefield. And the Stonehearth Pizza place should be open soon (we go regularly to the Stone Hearth in Belmont.)And D'Agostino's has some good subs. And there are a few good spots in Arlington.

          To answer your specific question, you might enjoy 2 neighboring places next to Tufts-- Sound Bites and Ball Sq. Cafe. The chef from the former (large space)-opened the latter (tiny). Both have friendly good service and good food but we have come to prefer the latter (for their particularly good eggs benedict.)though the wait can be long because it's tiny. (rarely a wait at Sound Bites.)LOTS of pancake variations (menus near identical between these 2 spots.) Tell them how you want them and see if they can get them crispy for you (more butter needed, and more well done than not.)
          Imo, no reason to drive to Deluxe Town Diner (this from someone who liked it at first.) I'd like to try that Blue Moon place in Wakefield, after reading various CH raves for it in recent yrs.

          let us know if you need more recs for other kinds of food. If you do 'arlington' search etc, you'll find lots of threads.

          1. Thanks to everyone's suggestions. We will definitely try those places out.

            opinionatedchef: While I agree there are few(er) good food choices in our area, we were very pleased with Parson's Table (and wish him good luck with his Boston endeavor), and were pleased with the one time we tried A Tavola (it was their first day so we're withholding real judgement until we go again). And while most of the other local places we've tried (Black Horse, Sakura, China Sky, Rodeo) I would rate as just "good enough for the suburbs", we have been VERY impressed with Chilli Garden in Medford (seriously love the food here). We are very excited about Stonehearth and can't wait for them to open.

            Again, thanks for the suggestions everyone! And, since we're on the topic of Winchester, do you guys have any other suggestions for good restaurants nearby, or can direct me to a thread that discusses it?

            12 Replies
            1. re: umami4me

              i think you're best off doing a CH search by location. Some other places we like, w/in 15 -20 minute drive:
              Melrose- FuLloon ,Taiwanese, many threads, CH fav
              "" ""- Biryani Park, Indian/So.Indian/Sri Lankan, "" """

              Medford- Bella Ravioli- 2nd generation fresh pasta store

              Somerville, Union Sq:
              Casa B-tapas;
              Capone Foods- prepared and imported foods;
              Pollo a las Brasas (Macchu Pichu)- spiced roast pork w/roasted sweet potato sandwiches; meat tamales; roast Peruvian chicken

              Somerville, Teele Sq- Istanbuluu (turkish)

              Arlington- Sweet Chili (Thai); Tango for take-out beef empanadas only

              Belmont- Il Casale

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Umami4me, I am with you on the pancakes! I posted almost exactly the same request a while back if you find that post there were a few suggestions. I also love crsipy edges but NOT overcooked. I don't like overly browned pancakes. The crispness has nothing to do with the time cooked, at least for me! I think the pancakes that made me crave good pancakes were primarily the ones at Johny D's Jazz brunch in Somerville but dont like to drive to the city so have not been in years but never found the same type since..They also had great oatmeal that came with breakfast. I think they are probably the same and I would love to hear whether they are still great. Maybe ask them if they are serving the same recipes for the last ten years... Anyways also, you should try the Friendly Toast. I have only been to the Portsmouth NH one, but theres now one in Somerville. Dont remember the crisp factor but they have huge variety of all breakfast foods and all very funky and homemade. In Wakefield Brothers are pretty good for standard Aunt Jemima type, as is Family Fare in Peabody, and Westside in West Peabody has huge step above and more crispy edged than most. I always get blueberry pancakes cuz i think they are always moister and less chance of rubberyness.I was wondering how Jags are, since they consider themselves gourmet at dinner, but dont know yet and wasnt that impressed with dinner. When I asked, several people recommended Pancake HOuse in Essex. Also I think the Agawam Diner in Rowley had better than average.. Finding perfectly cooked waffles is also elusive. They can be great and then bad in the same place. Also The Depot in Beverly has above average breakfasts and good blueberry compote and quiche. I was actually surprised a couple summers ago when i had Dennys in Danvers whole grain pancakes with fresh blueberries. They were a step up from many diners and fluffy and a huge amount of big really sweet fresh berries piled on top for cheaper than the price to buy a half pint of berries! But havent tried it this year and you have to check first to see if the berries are in at the time.

                1. re: chompie

                  just to help, Friendly Toast is in Kendall Sq, Cambridge.

                  The Friendly Toast
                  121 Congress St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

                  The Friendly Toast
                  1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    thanks for the correction! I sometimes think that we spent our honeymon in Portsmouth, just so we could eat there at will...

                  2. re: chompie

                    Thanks for the all the suggestions. I think in order to get the crispy edges, the griddle has to be really hot. But you're right, they can't be overcooked, either. I try to recreate it at home, but without one of those huge griddles, I don't think you can get the edges as crispy. Thanks again for all the suggestions. It's good to know I'm not the only one who loves a crispy-edged pancake.

                    1. re: umami4me

                      keep us posted on your pancake exploration! i want to try a new diner in Woburn that i cant remember the name,i think Martinos, but google chef lynne to make sure...Went back to West Side today and the edges were a tiny bit crispy for about 2 minutes, so fairly standard cakes but full of blueberries and fluffy and large and good price and they were very nice to make breakfast on off breakfast hours.. I think the elusive crispiness also comes also from the right amount of butter. I think on THrowdown with Bobby Flay there was a couple who did blueberry pancakes who do a whole bit on the secret to crispy edges.. Did you ever try Johny D's?

                      1. re: chompie

                        I think the key is a lot of fat, maybe bacon fat or lard. I REALLY like the pancakes at cracker barrel (I know, shush) in Sturbridge because they are so damn crispy. I once stumbled upon the idea at home to make my pancakes in a hot panful of unseasoned bacon grease, and you know what?

                        Crispy as all get out.

                        1. re: marcreichman

                          I figured the crispy edges had to do with both the fat (I had assumed butter or veg oil) and the high heat of the griddle. Not sure if I want my fruit pancakes to taste of bacon, unless I'm also eating bacon. But I'll try it at home and see.
                          I have tried Johnny D's, but that was a while ago. Have to get back there to check it out. I can pretty much only check these places out on the weekends, so it'll take a while to get to them, but I'll report back!

                          1. re: umami4me

                            You don't want the heat too high, or you'll burn the outsides while not finishing the middles. A nice amount of fat and just enough heat for nice browning will get you crispy, but not greasy or burned.

                2. re: umami4me

                  Tremonte on Main Street, Woburn is good Italian. It gets crowded, haven't been in a couple of years because of this, but the food is excellent. I love Tuda Na Brasa, but it has no atmosphere, just a bar/pizza joint like place. They have a buffet of fresh Brazilian food (love their pico di gallo), but that's not the name, lol! Their BBQ grilled beef, exceptional and chicken BBQ is also excellent. For Japanese/Sushi, Kyotoya, on Montvale in Stoneham is excellent.
                  Three Amigo's, is a family owned little Mexican place I frequent. It's right off of Main Street, Stoneham.

                  If you do any cooking, there is a little Indian Grocer in the Municiple Parking in Woburn Center. And don't miss out a trip to H-Mart in Burlington.

                  Welcome to the neighborhood.

                  1. re: mcel215

                    Thanks! We love Tremonte, have been meaning to try Tuda Na Brasa (glad to know the food is good, that's more important than atmosphere when you've got a toddler in tow), and love Three Amigos. As for grocers, we sometimes go to the H-Mart in Burlington but find the crowds & parking on the weekends intolerable. We've found the Super 88 in Malden fits our needs (though there is no food court), plus the parking is no where near as heinous as H-Mart!

                    1. re: umami4me

                      The crowds are no where to be found at 8am on a Sunday morning, when it first opens.

                      It's a ghost town, but it allows me time to really look at items that are unfamiliar to me.

                      Here's a couple of pictures the last Sunday I was there. Their fresh produce section is amazing. :)

                      Also, meant to give you a few more choices, if you haven't been to any of these.
                      New Jang Su, Korean BBQ, rte 3A, Burlington
                      Lanna Thai, rte 38, Woburn
                      Pho1, rte 38, Woburn